Saturday, July 18, 2009

How to make a bed a la française

Who would have guessed that cultural differences extend to the way we make a bed? In Bringing France Home, Cheryl MacLachlan details how to make a bed a la française and I thought you might find it interesting.

  • The French are not accustomed to fitted sheets; they use a flat sheet in place of a fitted one
  • A long pillow, a traversin, is used at the head of the bed and often the sheet is pulled up, over and around the traversin
  • A traversin may also be covered in its own case, as pictured here
  • The couette, or down comforter is one of the bed coverings of choice; the couette has its own covering which is washed weekly with the sheets
  • The bedskirt, or dust ruffle, is an indispensable part of the bed's ensemble; it is not only a decorative touch but is used to conceal what is stored under the bed
  • The turnback of the top sheet is very deep, as shown in the picture, often to showcase lovely hem or trim
  • The oversized pillows that are seen adorning a bed are called "European squares" and are 26" x 26" square
  • These pillows are often in cases that are embellished or monogrammed
  • Because the French like to display their pillows, their shams, and their top sheet, the bedcover is often folded back upon itself

Bonne nuit!


  1. Interesting. I need to get this book, I wonder if my sister will give me hers. I have been thinking of not using fitted sheets anymore, I hate trying to fold them after I wash them.

  2. Very interesting. Seems to be very similar to how most finer hotels make their beds.

  3. Thank you for the lovely info! Seems again, as always, that the French way is not only beautiful, but practical too :) Now if I could only get mine to be so beautiful...

  4. I totally agree - why is it that french beds look oh so more romantic than traditional English beds! The french have gorgeous faded linens placed oh so wonderfully - we always try and dress our beds the french way. Take a look at some of our french beds at

  5. Thanks it was a good help, now to make a bed a la française is simple and easy by using your tips. Thanks

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